State Senator José Peralta will end his campaign for Queens borough president and endorse former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, a source close to the Peralta campaign told Politicker Friday.
“Senator Peralta made an important contribution to the race for borough president as a tireless advocate for immigrant communities and local economic development and job growth,” said Rep. Joe Crowley, the chair of the Queens Democratic Party, in a statement. “Fortunately, he will continue fighting the good fight in the state Senate and wherever else his insight and determination are needed. I look forward to continuing to work with him on legislation and projects to help make our communities stronger.”
Councilman Leroy Comrie, once considered a front-runner in the Queens borough presidents race, is “looking at every option,” he told Politicker this morning when asked if he’s planning to drop his bid.
“I’m not prepared to put that out publicly yet, I’m still working on it,” he said during the Memorial Day Parade in the Laurelton neighborhood of Queens.
When the Queens Democratic Party rolled out its endorsements this morning in Forest Hills, one notable demographic, African Americans, was left without a major candidate. Indeed, Queens’ black political establishment looked on with disappointment as their favored candidates for mayor, borough president and public advocate were passed over for rivals.
Congressman Joe Crowley, the party chair, endorsed Council Speaker Christine Quinn for mayor and former Councilwoman Melinda Katz for borough president. While a vast majority of district leaders voiced their approval, Elmer Blackburne and several other black district leaders dissented, indicating that instead they would support Bill Thompson, the former comptroller, who is also black. Ms. Quinn and Ms. Katz are white.
king of queens
The Queens County Democratic Party is expected to endorse Councilman Leroy Comrie for borough president next week, according to four sources plugged into various sides of the race.
The sources–some of whom were disappointed in the decision–told Politicker that Congressman Joe Crowley, the head of the borough’s Democratic organization, will probably endorse Mr. Comrie to balance his leadership position in one of the most demographically diverse counties in the country.
It is a question few in the New York political establishment dare to ask publicly: is the seemingly endless string of indictments and arrests of elected officials a conspiracy against minorities in power?
But there was Queens State Sen. James Sanders Jr., bellowing in a theater with a preacher’s rhythm, more than implying last night that the recent arrests of black elected officials like Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, State Sen. Malcolm Smith and State Sen. John Sampson were not coincidental. Even State Sen. Shirley Huntley, who admitted to stealing funds earmarked for her district’s underprivileged children and was sentenced Thursday for her crimes, could have been linked to a conspiracy, Mr. Sanders said.
Ironically, Mr. Sanders defeated Ms. Huntley last year–after she was indicted–and took her seat in the State Senate.
Joining the Fray
Manny Caughman, a staffer for Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough, told Politicker he’s ‘99 percent’ certain he’ll launch a bid for term-limited Councilman Leroy Comrie’s seat. And, thanks to his civic work and ties to the influential Guy R. Brewer Democratic Club in southeastern Queens, Mr. Caughman could mount a serious challenge to labor leader Daneek Miller, the race’s early front-runner.
Though the field for term-limited Queens Councilman Leroy Comrie’s seat is far from set, it may soon have a frontrunner: labor leader Daneek Miller.
Indeed, Mr. Miller, the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1056, told Politicker that Mr. Comrie asked him to run for the City Council this year. Although he stressed he had not formally decided whether to launch his bid, Mr. Miller said he was seriously considering the opportunity.
Hell hath no fury like a county organization scorned.
Multiple Democratic insiders confirmed to Politicker that Queens State Senator Malcolm Smith, the fifth member of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, could face a primary challenger in 2014. Mr. Smith, it should be noted, has flirted with running for mayor as a Republican and is not going out of his way to strengthen his Democratic bonafides.
“It’s clear that Malcolm Smith is on his last term in the Senate,” said one source. “Caucusing with Republicans is not a viable tactic.”
The Vallone Zone
Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. will announce his bid for Queens Borough President tomorrow, a Democratic source with knowledge of Mr. Vallone’s plans confirmed. Mr. Vallone will make his announcement at his father’s holiday party in Astoria. Peter Vallone Sr., the former City Council Speaker, is hosting the bash at the restaurant Don Coqui. The invitation noted the event will include “an announcement as to Council Member Vallone’s future political plans at the party, because he wants those closest to know first!”
Is the media to blame for NYCHA’s problems? Or, more specifically, the Daily News? That was certainly the impression given by a handful of pols on the steps of City Hall this afternoon.
Led by Rosie Mendez, chair of the City Council’s housing committee, the group applauded the New York City Housing Authority’s recent improvements over the past months and years. While it was widely acknowledged that the state of public housing in the city was far from perfect, the situation was indeed improving in the view of those huddled under the portico of City Hall as it drizzled on the steps just beyond.
“NYCHA’s problems are profound,” Queens Councilman LeRoy Comrie said. “They cannot be explained away in a newspaper article that simply says they are not doing their job.”